I have realized something strange about myself this January: I like winter.
I never thought this would happen. I’ve always been a summer girl. And even now, my favourite kind of day are those summer days that are blazing hot, hot as an oven, so hot that when you go outside you feel it assault you like a wave, burning your lungs, blinded by the sun. Heat is good, is what I’m saying.
So I was never that into winter, the putting on of coats and boots and trying to avoid ice and scraping your car, ugh. It was something to be endured.
Slowly, though, over the past few years, I have changed. Starting to ski has helped – I am still just THE WORST skier, in fact this week I got depressed when I found out the best guy in our class has been skiing for exactly as long as I have, and then while I was already sad about that our instructor took us on a difficult new hill, and I am ashamed to say I screamed at her in frustration and then rage-quit my lesson like a cranky five year old. But still, I am going to the hill every week and trying, and although improvement has come slowly there are passing, brief moments when I actually enjoy it. And most importantly, it has reframed my attitude towards winter weather completely; now I want snow, and I want cold, and when we have unseasonably warm days in January, I worry about the state of the ski hill.
But it’s more than just that. Lately I have found myself honestly enjoying just being outside in winter. Sir Monkeypants and I have started going for walks on Sunday evening and I love the brisk air, so fresh and clean. I love that there’s no bugs and few people in the streets and it’s just very calm and relaxing. I love the soft, silent days when fat snowflakes fall and everything seems so peaceful.
In short, I really, really like winter now.
My daughter, Gal Smiley, had a good friend who moved away last summer to Niagara Falls (side note: this is like, the FOURTH time this has happened to her, and we have recently found out her best friend from this year is ALSO moving away this summer, what UP, universe??). Anyway, she still keeps in touch with her Niagara Falls friend and Niagara girl was saying how weird it is that there is no snow there. She can’t ski or snowboard or even outdoor skate on a natural rink. It’s cold, but there’s none of the awesomeness of winter – nothing that encourages her to go outside and be outside and love it.
I hope she finds something positive about Niagara Falls winter, but it has also made me realize all the more how lucky we are in Ottawa to get a true winter, a winter with its own culture, almost, distinct from the other seasons. Sir Monkeypants said to me the other day that he never would have chosen to live somewhere so cold, but now he loves it – and so do I.
Winter, you’re pretty dang wonderful.